A 2014 report by the Cato Institute analyzed education spending trends by state and found that spending per student for K-12 education increased almost 200% from 1970-2010, in constant dollars.
Spending on poor families has also increased dramatically over the past few decades. The figure above shows spending in constant dollars on the four largest means-tested programs (excluding public health insurance programs). Food and nutrition assistance alone increased 78% since FY2005. And Medicaid spending far overshadows other means-tested programs at $276 billion in FY2014, an increase of 40% since FY2005. As a percent of GDP, federal spending on means-tested programs was 3.5% in FY 2014. It was 2.7% in FY2005 and 2.4% in FY2001, the last recession.